CNAs as School Nurses: A Good Idea?
As students in Salisbury, MD, head back to the days of homework and bus rides, the Wicomico County school district has decided to replace three registered nurses with certified nursing assistants, leaving some schools without an RN to care for children with medical needs that can't be handled by a CNA.
"We've had to be very strategic with staffing," said Margo Handy, the school district's assistant superintendent, as quoted in The Daily Times. "You're going to see this story in a lot of areas as the year goes on. We're looking at a lot of ways to do reorganizing as we anticipate future funding or lack of funding."
It's true: School districts across the country are making tough choices to save money. But should it be at the expense the students' healthcare needs? The newspaper article did note the schools that have the most medically fragile students (e.g., those needing catheterization or tube feedings) will still have two RNs on staff. But what about the one student in one of the other schools who needs more care than a CNA can provide?
The financial bottom line: It was reported the elimination of three RN positions at the school saved $168,707 annually.
To me, it seems like a small amount to pay to ensure the district's students remain healthy.